Verb Review #10: Forming Questions

By Maeve Maddox

Questions do not follow usual subject-verb order.

In questions that contain only one verb, the verb precedes the subject:

Are you my friend?
Have you any wool?

In questions that contain two verb forms, the subject is sandwiched between them:

Can you help me?
Is he going with us?

The helping verb always goes first.

The same word order applies when a question begins with a question word:

Where is he?
Where has she been all these years?

Question words are of three kinds: pronouns, determiners, and adverbs.

The interrogative (question) pronouns are who, whom, what, and which.

Who is the man in the yellow hat?
Whom do you wish to see?
What made you say that?
Which is the gift intended for Aunt Gertie?

The interrogative determiners are which, what, or whose followed by a noun.

Which house are they razing today?
What name shall I use for your byline?
Whose little dog are you?

The interrogative adverbs are where, why, how, when etc.

Where were you living in 1990?
How many books have you read on the subject of the Middle Ages?
When will people stop being offended by trifles?
Why can’t all parents send their children to school in a teachable condition?

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